Four on the spin as Seagulls soar
- Credit: Archant
WESTON emerged victorious from a Christmas cracker of a match at Wealdstone on Saturday after Jake Mawford’s last-gasp winner lifted the side out of the Vanarama South relegation zone.
The Seagulls have been flying in recent weeks and wrapped up a fourth straight win in the dying moments in a rollercoaster of a match, to rise to 18th, their highest position of the season.
They had trailed at half-time through Jonny Wright’s early header but emerged reinvigorated after the break, levelling up two minutes later through Joe McClennan’s smart finish, before Bradley Ash smashed in a second just before the hour.
With home skipper Tom Hamblin sent off with five minutes to go Weston looked to be heading for the points, but seconds later Jefferson Louis popped up unmarked to surely steal what seemed an unlikely draw.
The confidence is palpable in Ryan Northmore’s young side, however, and deep into stoppage time, Mawford’s bullet header from Alex Byrne’s corner sealed a memorable victory in North London.
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Weston were again without the suspended Tristan Plummer so Scott Wilson began in attack, but the first moment of note fell at the other end of the pitch.
A long free-kick from Dale Binns was allowed to bounce in the Seagulls’ area after just five minutes, leaving Wright free to head past Luke Purnell.
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Weston took control of the half after that, with skipper Dayle Grubb firing straight at home keeper Jonathan North when well placed, before Wilson shook off his marker but could only do likewise.
Boss Northmore said he used the half-time break to tell his players to exploit spaces in the final third better, and they did just that two minutes after half-time as Grubb found McClennan on the edge of the six-yard box, who showed quick feet to evade a Wealdstone defender before slotting home.
The Seagulls took the lead soon after, as McClennan’s low ball down the right found in-form Ash, who somehow thumped the ball beyond North from a tight angle.
Chances became few and far between for both sides but Wealdstone skipper Hamblin was fortunate to only see yellow for a heavy challenge, before he finally did receive his marching orders five minutes from time after scything down Jacob Cane.
The red card seemed to finally awaken the Stones, and Bradley Hudson-Odoi finished his run down the left by delivering a pin-point cross for Louis to head an underserved equaliser.
But Weston’s young side were not done. Mawford’s cross from the right was headed behind for a corner in the third minute of injury time, and from Byrne’s whipped delivery he headed beyond North for the latest of winners.
After the game, Northmore said he was delighted with the resilience of his side to rescue the victory, and said they were looking up the table after their third league win in a row.
He said: “It’s all part of the benefits of having a young side on a good run. At the moment, that resilience is coming through but there’s also plenty of enthusiasm to do well, and the players are very proud of their recent form.
“It would’ve been easy to accept a draw but it’s not in our nature to do that. We’re out of the bottom three which is great, but we are also six points off the top 10 and 11 from the play-offs, and we are only looking up.”